Who are the winners? It is plain and simple. The Washington elite are the winners; the American people are the less fortunate. (I refuse to use the term “losers” to describe the American people.) The lust for power remains evident in Washington, and it has no regard for party lines. In a thirst for holding onto power, even some Republicans did okay. For example, the AP reports:
“One provision would let the government spend $2.9 billion — an increase from the current cap of $775 million — to upgrade the Olmstead lock on the Ohio River.
It gained attention because the two states it straddles are represented by two of the Senate's most powerful members: the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, and No. 2 Democratic leader, Richard Durbin of Illinois.”
Even the AP uses the word “powerful” to describe the senators. That’s what it is all about.
Some conservatives experienced a bout of depression when President Obama was re-elected to a second term in office. At that time many people openly asked, “How could this have possibly happened?” All of the latest maneuverings in Washington should bring a little clarity to the picture. The cultural values of today are vastly different than they were fifty years ago. The political debacles we see being played out over and over are simply a symptom of a much larger problem in our society. Let’s admit it. The “ME” culture, looking out for number one, has won. “The land of the free” will continue to experience decline as long as a significant portion of our population operates out of the mindset of looking out for number one. The “entitlement culture” is here to stay for a while. Why? People who get things from the government repeatedly vote for those who gave it to them.
The Founding Fathers understood the need for three branches of government to protect us from tyranny. In recent years it has become quite evident that this methodology is only effective if there are truly people of honor in these positions of leadership. What happens to our country when people of integrity no longer fill these roles? What happens when Christian values no longer guide the people who sit in positions of power?
Religious values and morals may be looked upon as old-fashioned, but the message of the Gospel is still the fabric that holds a society together. We may choose to ignore the fact that our Founding Fathers relied heavily upon people living their lives based upon Christian principles, but we are doing that at our own peril. Having upright, ethical and moral principles are essential for a society to thrive. Without people of faith leading the way to instill these values throughout culture we are doomed to moral decay. We are now reaping what we have sown for the last fifty years.
We removed God from our schools and other public institutions. We even removed manger scenes from public lands during Christmas. The HHS Mandate has effectively stripped us of our religious liberty. We now have freedom of worship instead of freedom of religion. Our faith is being constricted and confined to our church buildings and homes. Based upon all that has transpired, one has to ask how long we will have freedom of worship before that is taken away as well.
Watching our government leaders intentionally inflict as much pain as possible upon the American people during these last two weeks was difficult to watch. They locked out the World War II veterans from the memorial built in their honor. They closed National Parks and even blockaded state roads so people couldn’t take pictures of Mount Rushmore. They kept contract Catholic priests from providing spiritual care and religious services to our military personnel. Each of these, and so many more, were directed to hurt the people. It is painfully obvious that many government leaders are more concerned about power, money, and prestige than they are about the American people.
Does any of this surprise us? It shouldn’t. Look at what we value in society and we can see that our politics simply reflect our overarching cultural values. Power and money has the potential to bring corruption in any sphere of life. Examine the lives of professional athletes. Have you heard how many professional football players have been arrested in the last year? Look at the immoral antics of so many of the entertainers and actors that enjoy the limelight. The political field is just another area of quick-sand that sucks in even those who arrive in Washington with good intentions. If an individual loses a re-election attempt, it is time to become a well-paid lobbyist. Of course, there is also the lucrative public speaking route to pursue. Former President Bill Clinton can attest to the millions that are available in this venue for past presidents especially. Writing a book can also enhance that endeavor immensely as well.
Where is the hope in all of this? Scripture says, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” (Matthew 9:37) I believe we have affirmation that this Scripture passage is still very relevant today. People of faith—it’s time for us to pray and work like never before. It is time for us to bring Christ to the world.
“Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)